The Harts Council of 1097 AF

Sir Huw de Grognard
The Council was convened at about one o’clock. Lady Tarragon, Speaker of Albion, had Lord General Calin to her right and Sir Hugo Charenten to her left. The hall was a who’s who of Albion. I was surrounded by the Beastmen who seemed in reasonable cheer despite the troubles in their homeland.
Almost immediately, Lord Lynsall of the Tarantulas burst through the doors with urgent news. It was clear that his weapons and those of his companions were peace knotted. There was the usual exchange of pleasantries between Lord Calin and those of his kind. Lynsall as he approached Lady Tarragon said, “I bring you news of an attack upon this Court and particularly directed at Lord Calin. This is from the renegade Drow from the House du Brasic.” Lord Calin retorted, “They should form an orderly queue.” Lord Lynsall continued, “I bring two poison antidotes.” These he gave to Lady Tarragon who distributed to the interested parties. The Drow left unmolested as swiftly as they appeared.
Sir Hugo said when there was finally quiet, “Let this Council come to order. Is there any that are without that wish to come to hear and be heard.” Lady Tarragon said in a commanding voice, “Assembled people of Albion. Greetings. If any wish to speak then they may do so once recognised. Last year we made a good showing both in the field and in our relations with other nations. Albion is once more united which has been my prayer for many years. I do acknowledge that despite the efforts our Ambassadors were not as they should have been. There are many new appointments.”
Lord General Calin was introduced as the Marshal of Albion. He spoke in his usual eloquent style, “The venerable Lord General Hunter died some 18 months ago now. It is traditional that within year and a day all claimants to the position must come forward. As there was none other than myself, I claim the position by right. He was of my blood rather than me being of his as I am a High Elf. I will not take this for my lifetime. I will take this on for the time it is required to groom my successor who will take the usual Human life span.” To this there were cheers of acclamation.
Lady Tarragon said, “Thankyou Calin. Sir Hugo Charenten became the Warden of the Northern Marches to look after our Northern Cousins.”
“Earl Hawkeye was reaffirmed as the High Sheriff of Albion. Our [Faction] finances are in their usual state for this time of year. I ask you to dig deep in your pockets. The money is not for my benefit but for the benefit of all those here.” A humorous comment from the floor said, “What about a claw tax.” At this all the Beastmen hid their hands much to the amusement of all.
“My husband, Duke Tarragon will retain his office that will be termed Minister of Defence as we are no longer cursed with war.”
“Count Annias of the Hunters will be High Ambassador with the very able assistance of s’Pika of the Beastmen. An envoy will be appointed for each faction.”
“Lady Kathen Fairchild will again be the Faction High Incantor.”
“StickssS of the Beastmen will be once more Faction High Mage.”
“We are glad that Lady Lysandra has accepted the position of Minister for the Arcane. Those wishing advice upon the arts of Magic should consult her.”
“Raynauld du Chatillon of the Slayers is appointed to be Steward of the Council of Albion.”
“My son, Elias Karlennon has been returned by the Hunter. He does not wish to be Lord General of Eaton yet. Up to and including the Gathering, I will retain that role. I will step down then as he has requested of me. ”
“Tobias Keerin of the Watchers will be again High Healer of the Faction.”
“Since the unification of Albion, the Quaesitors have come forward to offer assistance in codifying the Laws of Albion. The Draft is already with Justinian.”
“The Noble Order of Eaton was instigated by me [Lady Tarragon] some years ago. It has unfortunately fallen by the wayside. It will still be used as my personal gift.” Just after the speech in the recess I was given a replacement for the sash that had been lost upon the field of battle last year by Lady Tarragon.
“Onto wider maters now. The Lions were vanquished upon the field last year. The edict against any Lion found upon the soil of Albion would forfeit their life has been repealed. Rhino is a personal friend of mine. I wish to see no unfortunate accidents. Please keep any personal difficulties within bounds. Any action against a Lion will go to a fair trial.”
Bog of the Beastmen spoke in faltering common. “The land of the Steppes is covered in fog….. As the thaw happened…. We saw shapes…. They attacked the Ritual Circle….. Villages deserted….. Frozen Beasts…. Happening for a moon…. Request for a force. A force of Mongols was taken as well as Beastmen…. Yesterday big fight…. Arrived out of Ritual Circle. Moved towards fog…. We were lost…. Situation was Beastmen fighting Beastmen, Mongol fighting Mongol….. Frozen limbs that dissolve in shower of blood…. The foes acted at the same time. Same motion….. We lost what can we say….. Fog creeping towards Ritual Circle… Must stop it…. No magic affects them…. Beastmen dying…. Sad day…. Twelve people were left to protect the Ritual Circle for another three moons….. We were elected to come here…. We were followed. They sent ten. I fear more will come…. WE ASK FOR HELP AND ASSISTANCE.”
A young man from the Slayers and talked unsteadily thus, “The Gereshen (Red face with black hair) is here because he is lawful. We wait for the kind. Creature of law.” Someone from the floor said, “How can we trust them. They use Unliving.” Bog replied, “I do not trust them. I KNOW YOU as people. What can you assist us with?” s’Pika said, “The Tribe will assist us no doubt.” Bog in a through away statement said,” We are here because StickssS could remember how to get here.” There was much laughter about this.
Lady Lysandra in measured tones spoke, “The fog would seem to go to the Ritual Circle. I will go to the Ritual Circle. To close it or defend it. This may be within my power.” Lady Tarragon closed the discussion and many things were arrived at in closed council. Many individuals said agreed to go to Syberia as soon as the Council was over.
Bog said, “StickssS has had a problem with a Barrow Wight on Morgan’s Quest as did Sir Huw. He cannot remember anything more recent than two weeks past. StickssS is StickssS. It is very very strange talking to him. He remembers and then does not. Don’t let him do Rituals.”
Lady Tarragon said, “Now to other serious matters. Lord Arcane has chosen to kill one of his own. The person was obeying Dragon Law. The Flames [of Abraham] were put on trial. He chose to sleep him and slit his throat.” There was much disturbance and questions over his sanity. “He has also outlawed Sir Huw for writing a report of the Dragon Council back in November. I have read this and certainly Sir Huw has insulted me far worse.” At this point I absented myself momentarily which caused much amusement. “Arcane and Ash is not the same as Fig. He was someone we could deal with. Silkin [Ap Palaran]is one of the few sensible Dragons left.”
“Two factions count Unliving as part of their faction. The Tarantulas deal with them openly. This is unacceptable to us. Because of Viper Justice, the Flames [of Abraham] were found guilty of murder but strangely not guilty of conspiracy. You will need to ask Lady Kathen for the Incantor Guild reaction. I feel it is time for a break for refreshments.”
Lady Tarragon continued after the interlude, “The Guilds are not at issue. Guilds provide important services for their members and the factions. They must negotiate with us for their rights and not presume.”
“Sordelan of the Scouts Guild had the impertinence to appoint a rep from himself to the faction. This has been resolved. His position that only he can do the appointing is wrong.”
Lady Kathen Fairchild spoke upon the Incantors Guild, “Attila does not talk to me. Attila claims a great deal of gold from the faction as I was no longer able to be Incantor Guild Ritualist and my duties for the Harts. She has no chance in collecting. At Moons Renewal, Speaker Wolfgar [High Incantor of the Wolves and Speaker of the Incantors Guild] did not know of these demands and was incensed by this. The Scribe has got above himself. Neither Lady Tarragon nor I have heard anything from her since September. When she sent me an insulting letter. This stated that the Natural Order of loyalty to the Faction first and the Guild second was overturned. SHE IS QUITE WRONG. She has been unfair.”
Lady Tarragon continued, “Strangely the Healers and Stewards guild have given us no problem.” This caused much laughter. “Ensure that all that have dealing with the Guilds keep in touch with us.”
Lady Kathen replied to a question about Unliving and Galan d’Lacy the Lich, “Attila the Nun has stated that she wished none to break the law. Galan was killed in a quest at the Dragon’s Council last November. The Flames [of Abraham] performed a ritual and through fate turned him into Unliving. Galan has asked that his pattern be purified rather than dismissed.” s’Pika then asked for clarification on this point. Lady Tarragon confirmed that we were to defend Galan until a means could be found to purify his pattern.
Lady Kathen continued, “If he was dismissed then he would be returned to the plains of Dead rather than Unliving. Galan should be given a little leeway. The Pattern must be healed. If this is not done then he could be raised again and he may not be the person as we know now. Whoever kills him would have that upon their head. We must reduce the number of corrupted patterns.”
Elias Karlennon said, “As you can see the cartographers have made another attempt upon the map.” Everybody looked at me for the reaction. He continued, “No doubt next year’s shape will be square.” This caused much amusement despite the seriousness of this statement.
Elias Karlennon spoke with the strength of a warrior upon the Goblin situation in Caledonia, “Several tribes of Goblins have laid claim to lands in Caledonia. The hundred year lease is up. At the Cataclysm some 500 years ago, the Formori and the Goblins were driven out of Caledonia. A hundred years ago there was another uprising of the Goblins. Goblins then are more learned than those we have been in contact. They have a council and a defined society. They match the fighting power of the seven armies of the Bears. They might consider life in reservations. The Bears do not wish to talk to them. Goblins and Bears fight. Either they come South when defeated. We must clearly think of our situation. The units within the Goblins are ordered and uniform. They seem to me a civilised people. The question is if there is room for them. There are nine tribes of Goblins including the Green Wolves, Sandy Claw). They have among their number Rock Trolls, Giant Spider and so forth. They refer to themselves as True Bears and the Bears refer to them as fodder.”
Sir Hugo stated, “Treat then with reasonable care. At the Open Grand Council, Connall spoke with the Speaker of the Goblin Tribes. He said that the Goblins of our time are savages. His knowledge of us was excellent. We could at this time talk to them. Live potentially in peace. YOU TREAT PEOPLE AS SAVAGES THEN THAT IS WHAT THEY BECOME.”
Lady Tarragon announced, “The Council for the Pendragon Throne will act as the King’s Privy Council when he is reinstated. Dukes and above will sit upon the Council. This comprises of twelve nobles plus the High King when he arrives. I [Lady Tarragon] will be the Speaker and Lord General Calin will be the Marshal. Their senior Duke and Earl will deputise for them. Each of the Kings Council will be given the daggers as they were in King Stephen’s time. We wish to find them. Search old records. The King’s Dagger is the thirteenth of the twelve.” [The King’s dagger had been retrieved the previous night by Elias and a strong force of Harts including a number of Beastmen and Darak of the Rangers of Greenwood.]
The Council comprised:-

Elias Karlennon, Junior (King of Albion)Lady Tarragon (Speaker and Lord General of Eaton),Lord General Calin (Marshal and the Huntshire),Sir Hugo Charenten (Warden of the Northern Marches),Duke Tarragon (Minister of Defence and Winchester),Count Annias (High Ambassador),Earl Hawkeye (High Sheriff and Cornwall),Raynauld du Chatillon (Steward of the Council of Albion),StickssS of the Beastmen (High Mage and York),General Tarn (General of the Army),Lady Lysandra (Minister for the Arcane and Gloucester),Lady Kathen Fairchild (High Incantor)Dewdrop Deadwood (London)RANGERS OF GREENWOOD
Lord General Calin then stood up and addressed the Council, “The Beastmen have cut down on the poachers.” A number of Beastmen stated, “And they were very tasty as well.” Calin continued, “I am looking to re-appoint person to the Rangers of Greenwood. These have been so reduced in recent times. Some of their duties will be to guide those who do not know their way and where not to venture within the Greenwood. Darak of the Watchers and Aspen of the Emerald Company are already active within the Greenwood. Any other with forest law who wish to look after the Border areas with Cymrija, deal with the growth in Ogres and Orcs. It is open to any that will be suitable.”
“Lady Marilla, better known to most as Rill, has been appointed as Seneschal after the departure of Lady Akijah Na’Shaar. Together with Sir Huw de Grognard, they will be the first point of contact for the Hunters Alliance.” Sir Hugo commented, “Does that mean she will make you more punctual?” Again there was the free laughter abroad.
Lady Tarragon with regret in her voice said, “An era is at an end, Lady Ailish O’Donovon retired to private life to her estates in Erin. Certainly she will be missed as are all those who have ability. On the 22nd of March she gave birth to two daughters. She may be here later to say her goodbyes.
Lord General Calin appointed to the Stewardship of Gloucester, Lady Lysandra after the departure of Lady Ailish.
Lady Tarragon proudly announced, “There are to be two new awards instigated. The first is to be Knight Defender of Albion for Valour shown upon the field and Defender of Albion for other deeds. The first recipients are for Knight Defender of Albion are Malthrax of the Slayers for his valiant attempts of keeping my dear brother upright and alive [Sir Hugo]. Joseph FitzLachlann as the faithful bodyguard of Lady Lysandra and for his other blood curdling deeds. Sir Jamie Douglas as the un-daunting Captain of the Guard and to Sir Don Calmari as his deputy.” These came forward. Both Malthrax and Joseph FitzLachlann were knighted by Lady Tarragon with Excalibur.”
Lady Tarragon continued, “Now I turn to that of Defender of Albion which is just as prestigious. Iggy of the Bachuss Bastards for stepping into the breach and running the command tent. Count Annias of the Hunters and Luetharn of the Karlennon Household for doing wonders. My thanks goes especially to Lady Kathen Fairchild for her fortitude in many matters.”
Elias announced, “There are still problems around Skald. A Large war fleet from the Wolves has retired from the area. These went to Skald and were repulsed.”
Sir Hugo said, “Yesterday there was an attempt to assassinate Baron Jaspar and Sir Jonathan. The Assassin has been taken to the Sheriff. He claimed to be a fanatical follower of Jaddvor and has been executed.”
Lady Tarragon stated, “Tomorrow there will be the Great Hunt. There will be twelve teams of two. Those interested should approach Hawkeye and the testers should approach Sir Hugo.” The Beastmen thought she said Tasters and got very excited. When they finally understood they were rather dejected. She continued, “The Hunter requested it and is a long standing tradition. Both Lady Kathen and StickssS will perform a Ritual tonight.”
“One in the room will show himself to be able to wield the Sword Excalibur. Any here with Noble blood may try. Any here may be of the true line. Nobody should be afraid.” Lord General Calin. Baron Jaspar, Sir Jonathan, Sir Hugo, a number of Beastmen, Ovak of the Wolverines and Iggy all tried and failed. Eventually Elias Karlennon was persuaded to try and to consternation of all he also could not hold the sword for more than a couple of moments.
Just as this was performed we were attacked by a dozen of Deep Drow as Lord Lynsall had predicted. Their targets seemed to be Lord General Calin and Lady Tarragon. Apparently both were hit by poisoned crossbow bolts. These through hard fighting were all killed. I immediately took possession of one of the antidotes and set about healing those that had been stricken. Lord Soulafien, a Drow under the protection of the Slayers administered aid as well as with a duplicate antidote that the Slayers had duplicated with their Cup.
Hunter of the Hawkeshead Archers in the presence of Lady Camille, Utha of the Watchers of Darkwood Elsbreth and Guillame de Hawkeye questioned the spirits of the recently deceased Drow. They were from House De Brasic as Lord Lynsall had predicted . They were trying to increase tension between the Harts and the Tarantulas. They stated that they were not under the orders of any group, faction or guild. The Beastmen efficiently disposed of the carcasses.